First off, the content is no longer consistent for the written and the lab exams. In version 4.0, the blueprints for the written and lab are identical. While there are shared topics in version 5.0, there are also topics that are written only or lab only. I’ll go into that in more detail in a later post.
The written exam is still the qualifier for the lab exam, and until version 4.0 of the written retires, it looks like you’ll be able to take either written to qualify to schedule a lab date.
The major change for the lab: NO MORE FRAME RELAY! At first, you may think it’s a bummer to lose the hub and spoke. Au contraire mon frère! They have replaced Frame Relay with Dynamic Multipoint VPN (DMVPN) with a single hub. This still gives us the interesting challenges of hub and spoke and routing protocols and multicast. You’ll see that IPv6 is more inclusive than version 4.0. For me, that seemed like a no-brainer. In fact, I’ve been teaching that way in my CIERS classes for years.
The lab now has three sections rather than two: Troubleshooting, Diagnostic, and Configuration.
The lab process has changed, and this is significant. There is no longer hardware! In version 4.0 of the lab, the Troubleshooting section is virtual (on IOS over UNIX), but the Configuration section is on real hardware. With version 5.0, there will not be any real routers or switches; it will be 100% virtual (IOS over Linux). This will give Cisco the flexibility to change the topology as they see fit and to add or remove seats as needed for testing.
This also means a couple things to those of us who may want to attempt this test, because there are things that do not work on the virtual devices. In other words, they can’t test on anything that is fully implemented in hardware. QoS, for instance, is an ASIC-based feature, therefore it doesn’t work on L2IOU. Still, while there are topics that can’t be covered in the lab, you can’t skip those topics, because they still could be on the written exam or in the Diagnostic section.
Lab exam time management has changed in version 5.0. The Troubleshooting section is two hours long, the Diagnostic section is 30 minutes, and the Configuration section is five and a half hours. You’ll have the option to extend your troubleshooting time by 30 minutes, but that will take 30 minutes away from your configuration time.
An interesting policy change will take effect with version 5.0. If you don’t pass the Troubleshooting section, you will not be allowed to see the Configuration section. This is a new security policy to help prevent cheating and to hinder those who just do brain dumps.
Of course, to pass the CCIE R&S Lab version 5.0, you will need to pass all three sections!
Even though the practical is 100% virtual, the recommended hardware to practice on are the ISR 2900 routers running 15.3T Universal and 3560X series switching running 15.0SE Universal IP Services.
Let’s Look at the CCIE R&S v5.0 Blueprints
The core topics from the CCIE R&S version 4.0 blueprint are still in place, and the format of the written exam hasn’t changed much. IPv6 is more integrated throughout the exams. Older technologies have been removed, and more current technologies were added.
Topics added to CCIE R&S v5.0 Written and Lab exams:
- Using IOS troubleshooting tools
- Applying troubleshooting methodologies
- Interpreting packet capture
- Implementing and troubleshooting Bidirectional Forwarding Detection
- Implementing EIGRP (multi-address) Named Mode
- Implementing, troubleshooting, and optimizing EIGRP and OSPF convergence and scalability
- Implementing and troubleshooting DMVPN (single hub), IPsec with pre-shared key, and IPv6 First Hop Security
Topics added to the CCIE R&S v5.0 Written exam:
- Basic software architecture differences between IOS and IOS XE
- Cisco Express Forwarding concepts
- General network challenges
- IP, TCP, and UDP operations
- Chassis virtualization and aggregation technologies
- PIM snooping
- WAN rate-based Ethernet circuits
- BGP fast convergence features
- ISIS (for IPv4 and IPv6)
- Basic Layer 2 VPN Wireline and LAN Services
- GET VPN
- IPv6 Network Address Translation
Topics moved from the CCIE R&S v4.0 Lab exam to the CCIE R&S v5.0 Written exam:
- IPv6 Multicast
- RIPv6 (RIPng)
- IPv6 tunneling techniques
- Device security using IOS AAA with TACACS+ and RADIUS
- Layer 2 QoS
- Performance Routing (in v4.0, this is OER; in v5.0, it’s PfR)
Topics on the CCIE R&S v4.0 exam but not on the v5.0:
- Flexlink, ISL, Layer 2 protocol tunneling
- Frame Relay (LFI and Traffic Shaping)
- IOS Firewall and IPS
- RITE and RMON
- RSVP QoS and WRR/SRR
The last date for CCIE R&S version 4.0 testing is June 3, 2014. CCIE R&S version 5.0 will go live on June 4, 2014.